On March 1, 1932 between 9 and 9:30 PM, Charles Lindbergh’s 20-month old son was kidnapped from his bedroom in Hopewell, NJ. The event was dubbed “The Crime of The Century” and its still one of the most fascinating events ever to happen in NJ. Several days after the kidnapping, the baby was found a few miles away when a truck driver named Will Allen pulled off the road to urinate in awooded area (something all runners can appreciate) where he noticed the baby’s corpse. The entire country was intrigued and law enforcement began an aggressive search for the kidnapper.
Nearly 3 years later, Richard Bruno Haupmann, an escaped convict from Germany, was charged with the crime after having been caught spending some of $50,000 ransom money. After he was eventually convicted in a Flemington courtroom in a trial that received world-wide coverage, Haupmann took a seat in a Trenton prison’s electric chair swearing his innocence until his last breath. The case has drawn fascination for decades with everyone having an opinion on Haupmann’s innocence and whether he was tipped off by someone on the inside.
So what does this have to do with running? Good question. Basically…absolutely nothing. However, in addition to loving all things running…we here at RunJersey.com are completely infatuated by this story. So…..we decided to connect our two passions…running and the Lindbergh case.
So here is what we did (purely for the hell of it). We took a run from the Lindbergh House to the exact location where the baby was found. And it was the spookiest thing we ever did. The thought of someone taking an infant right out of their own bedroom (via a ladder) gave us chills as we trotted through the quaint Hopewell town. We felt a true eeriness throughout our entire journey.
Here is the backstory: The house itself was donated by the Lindbergh’s to the State. It currently serves as a facility for the Juvenile Justice System, so you can not get close to it (although tours are available, but you have to make them in advance). So, we left from in front of the driveway and ran 3.65 miles to where the baby was eventually found. In all likelihood, Haupmann (and potentially an accomplice) did not run this route, they drove it because he/they had to return to NY quickly, however we thought it would be more fun…and much scarier to run it.
The Good: Its a very pretty course. Up and down steep, rolling hills in one of NJ’s prettiest towns. Lindbergh was one of the biggest celebrities in the nation, so he choose one of the nicest locations in America for his vacation home.
The Bad: Sections of the run have very high car traffic and no sidewalks, so its very dangerous. It really is not meant to be run, particularly the section on Hopewell-Princeton rd. Also, there is no place to park, so you need to get dropped off. And it’s very hilly.
Distance: A tough 3.65 miles.
Surface: Streets and some sidewalks.
Scary Factor: 10 out of 10. Since the crime was so heinous, it was difficult for us not to think about it the spookiness of it. And the fact that Haupmann swore his innocence till the very ends makes the case even more intriguing.
History Factor: 10 out 10. It’s the crime of the century and there is no better way to experience it than being right there and running it.
Cocktail Party Story Factor: 8 out 10. If you are around anyone old or a true history buff and you say that you ran the Lindbergh route, you will earn some serious credibility.
Specifics: Start at Albert Elias Residential Center (for GPS). It’s on Hopewell/Amwell Road or Lindbergh Rd in Hopewell. Make a right at the Y (still Hopewell/Amwell Road) and than another right onto route 518. Then, make a left onto 569 (Hopewell Princeton Rd). Go 1/2 mile to an unmarked road on your right called Old Mt Rose Road (across from the Greenway lot). The baby was found in the woods between the 2 roads.
Extra Credit Fact: We actually took the tour of the building and some of the residents swear that the building is haunted. They told us that noises of a baby can be heard all the time.
Have fun, be safe and enjoy this very spooky, very historic run!